Mobile App Navigation
There are countless factors to consider when designing a mobile app. No matter how good your UI, products, or content placement might be, your app isn’t going to work properly unless it lays out clear and concise app navigation systems. There are few things as frustrating than trying to access a section of an app you’ve been on previously but are now unable to find. While of course this may be down to you incorrectly using the app, it will usually come down to an incorrectly implemented navigation system that doesn’t properly guide users to their desired sections.
What is App Navigation
If an app is a city, navigation features are the cars that drive you around. Once an app grows to the size where it has several pages, a navigation menu becomes a must. As the name implies, app navigation is there to help users get to specific sections. When correctly implemented, app navigation will ensure that users are able to quickly and efficiently access their destination pages, while its such a simple feature, it can be vital when it comes to user retention and conversions.
Popular Navigation Types
With a whole multitude of different app types available on the market, there are countless navigation menus and techniques. While the customisation options for these are near endless and it’s not all that uncommon to see completely bespoke app navigation, there are several types that you are far more likely to see.
The Hamburger Menu
For apps where there isn’t a great deal of screen space, we frequently see hamburger menus in use. They are commonly present at the top of the screen and take shape as three horizontal lines which can be clicked to access a navigation panel showing links to different parts of the app. Due to being compact and easy to hide, the hamburger menu is frequently utilised as a part of apps that have a great deal of content and do not have the space for a full menu.
Very similar to the traditional desktop design you see when using Windows or Linux, a tab bar is a navigation menu placed at the bottom of every page. While it allows for very clear navigation to desired pages, you might only have space for several icons and links before the tab bar becomes cluttered. This makes it the perfect solution for apps with fewer pages.
Floating Action Button
The most common example of a floating action button comes in the Gmail app whereby clicking on the little icon on the bottom right allows you to compose an email. While this is a very simple example of the floating action button in use, it can be utilised in a verity of different ways. We commonly see this type of navigation used to offer an expandable menu from different points on the screen; adding music to a playlist, liking songs, turning on shuffle, etc, are just some of the examples in which a floating action button can be used within a music streaming app.
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